The Washington Redskins let a 17 point lead get away from them on the road in a 32-27 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Despite showing some hope in areas and unveiling young but talented players such as running back Derrius Guice and wideout’s Terry McLaurin and Kelvin Harmon, the Redskins are creating yet another monster storyline that has a bad look.
The team is already embroiled in a holdout with seven-time All-Pro left tackle, Trent Williams, but now find themselves being questioned for the way they handled future Hall of Fame running back Adrian Peterson being inactive against the Eagles.
The sure-fire first-ballot Hall of Famer was the Redskins offensive MVP last year. With the return of Guice from a season-ending rookie injury, the Redskins were set to boast one of the better running back units in the NFL. Now a controversy has begun that doesn’t look like a good ending is within sight.
Under coach Jay Gruden, the Redskins have traditionally carried four running backs on their roster but on gamedays keep only three active. One of the three who is active is normally a contributor on special teams. That’s not Peterson and that would be the theory of his inactiveness against the Eagles.
Peterson is a legend of the game, however, and also saved the Redskins last year after Guice’s injury. Some fans on social media feel that a player of his caliber should be treated with more respect than not being able to at least suit up for competition. Especially after the year, he put in last season.
In 2018, Peterson rushed for 1,042 yards and seven touchdowns. He also pulled in 20 catches for 208 yards and pass-catching TD.
While speaking to the media after the game, Gruden addressed the Peterson situation.
“He’s [Peterson] a first and second-down back,” Gruden responded when asked about Peterson being inactive. “So is Derrius. So, really, what do we have? About 20 first downs a game. Probably eight of those are passes, 12 of those might be runs, and Derrius can handle those 12. So if we have a game where we think we can run the ball 55 times in a game in an I-formation, then sure, I’ll get him up.”
Those comments will be media and fan fodder for a coach who could be on the hot seat sooner rather than later with perceived unpopular moves like this.
After the game Peterson, 34, handled all questions regarding the dilemma with class. The former Oklahoma Heisman Trophy Finalist said he’s a competitor and wanted to be out on the field with his teammates.
The Redskins as an organization can ill-afford to bring on any more drama to a fanbase that has grown accustomed to national storylines running rampant about the make-up of the franchise.
With the Redskins rival in the Dallas Cowboys coming to town next week for the home opener, negative storylines can’t become front-page material in only week two.
It will be interesting to see how the Redskins coaching staff handles a delicate situation with one of the most respected players in the history of the game for his accomplishments on the field.